According to a recent study, one of the most common genetic defects communicable in the family is heart attack. The researchers evaluated 9,178 people in Denmark for 24 years, during which 393 of them had a heart attack and 504 presented with a cerebrovascular disease.
All participants were searched for the H63D gene defect on the HFE gene, which is also known as the hemochromatosis (abnormal iron retention in the body) gene. This genetic defect is one of the most common defects that can be transmitted from generation to generation, especially in Northern Europe, where it is estimated that 1 in 4 individuals are carriers of the defective gene, and in the South there are even more.
Hemochromatisis leads to iron overload of the body, especially causing diabetes, liver cirrhosis and organ dysfunction. The study led to the discovery of two copies of the defective gene H63D, which increases the risk of having a heart attack by up to 2-3 times compared to those without this gene.
"This type of gene was initially associated with brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS, multiple sclerosis, vasculocerebral diseases, but this is the first time we have been able to determine that the presence of this gene can predict the risk of a heart attack." - says the author of the study, Borge G. Nordestgaard from the University Hospital of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Also with this study, the gene was not associated with carotid artery atherosclerosis, a disease that impairs the circulation of the head and neck.
"Further research is needed to determine why this gene is at increased risk for heart attack, as long as our current data suggests that the problem is not due to blood platelets or the body's iron loading," says Nordestgaard.
March 30, 2007